U.S. Set For Lower Open

by: SA Editors

At 9:02 AM EDT:

U.S. Futures

S&P 500: -1.20; 1,399.20
NASDAQ 100: +0.25; 1,782.25
Dow: -11.00; 12,213.00

International Indexes

Asia
NIKKEI 225: -0.11%; 16,303.59 (-18.19)
HANG SENG: +0.06%; 18,702.73 (+11.91)
S&P/ASX 200: -0.06%; 5,424.90 (-3.00)
BSE SENSEX 30: +0.21%; 13,874.33 (+29.55)

Europe
FTSE 100: +0.28%; 6,038.20 (+16.70)
CAC 40: +0.11%; 5,259.78 (+5.73)
XETRA-DAX: +0.11%; 6,247.72 (+6.59)

Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)

Oil: -0.85%; $62.89 (-$0.54)
Gold: +0.02%; $650.70 (+$0.10)
Natural Gas: -3.23%; $8.15 (-$0.27)
Silver: +0.28%; $14.23 (+$0.04)

Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Insurance Australia Agrees to Buy U.K.'s Equity Insurance for $1.1 Billion Insurance Australia Group Ltd., the nation's largest auto and home insurer, agreed to buy Equity Insurance Group for 570 million pounds ($1.1 billion), its third U.K. purchase in two months, to make up for waning sales at home.

Asian Exporter Stocks Fall After U.S. Manufacturing Shrinks; Honda Drops Asian exporter stocks fell after a report showed manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly shrank and the dollar weakened against regional currencies. Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC) and LG.Philips LCD Co. (NYSE:LPL) led declines.

Yuan Reaches Highest Since End of Dollar Link as U.S. May Press for Gains The yuan had its highest close since China ended a fixed exchange rate to the dollar last year, after U.S. manufacturers said they will lobby Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to seek faster currency appreciation.

KT&G Investor Offers to Sell Shares, Triggers Speculation Icahn is Vendor An investor in KT&G Corp., South Korea's biggest tobacco company, plans to sell about $470 million of shares, triggering speculation that billionaire investor Carl Icahn is cutting his stake.

European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Premier Foods to Buy RHM for $2.4 Billion to Add Hovis Bread, Bisto Gravy Premier Foods Plc agreed to buy RHM Plc for 1.2 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) to become the U.K.'s largest owner of food brands, with products from Hovis bread to Oxo stock cubes.

Lafarge Sells Its Roofing Unit to PAI Partners for $2.6 Billion in Cash Lafarge SA (LR), the world's biggest maker of building materials, agreed to sell its roof-tile unit to private-equity firm PAI Partners for 1.96 billion euros ($2.6 billion) to concentrate on more profitable cement operations.

European Drug Stocks Decline, Led by Glaxo; Premier Foods, Alitalia Rise European drug stocks fell after Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) of the U.S., the world's largest pharmaceuticals maker, ended development of a new cholesterol treatment, its most important new drug. GlaxoSmithKline Plc (NYSE:GSK) and Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) slid.

ITV Chairman Grade Drops Share Buyback to Spend More on `British' Programs Michael Grade, named ITV Plc's chairman last month, is borrowing a strategy from Walt Disney Co.'s (NYSE:DIS) ABC to revive Britain's largest commercial broadcaster. He plans to make programs people want to watch.

Bayer, Onxy Say Nexavar Cancer Drug Fails to Help in Treatment of Melanoma Bayer AG (BAY), Germany's biggest drugmaker, and U.S. partner Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ONXX) said their cancer drug Nexavar didn't help save the lives of patients with advanced melanoma, dealing a blow to development plans for the medicine.

U.S. Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)

Bank of New York Agrees to Buy Mellon Financial for About $16.5 Billion Bank of New York Co. (NYSE:BK) agreed to acquire Mellon Financial Corp. (MEL) for about $16.5 billion, creating the biggest custodian of assets for institutional investors almost a decade after Mellon rejected a similar bid.

LSI Logic Agrees to Acquire Agere Systems for About $4 Billion in Stock LSI Logic Corp. (NASDAQ:LSI) agreed to buy Agere Systems Inc. (NYSE:AGR) for about $4 billion in stock, adding a maker of mobile-phone chips for companies such as Samsung Electronics Co.

Station Casinos Management Offers to Take Company Private for $4.7 Billion Station Casinos Inc. (NYSE:STN), the operator of 12 casinos in the Las Vegas area, said its management and buyout firm Colony Capital LLC offered to take the company private for $4.7 billion.

Pfizer Shares Drop in Europe After Company Abandons Cholesterol Medicine Pfizer Inc.'s (PFE) shares fell as much as 15 percent after the world's biggest drugmaker ended development of its most important new treatment, a cholesterol medicine designed to replace Lipitor when its patent expires.

Macklowe Withdraws From Reckson Bid; Icahn Considers Making Revised Offer New York real estate investor Harry Macklowe withdrew from a partnership led by financier Carl Icahn that had promised to deliver by today a formal offer for Reckson Associates Realty Corp. (NYSE:RA).

FDA Stent Experts Have Money Ties to Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific Six physicians with financial ties to Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and other heart-device makers will be advising U.S. regulators whether to restrict the use of some products because of potentially lethal side effects.